Totem Poles
64 pages, 8 x 10
81 photos, 6 in colour
Release Date:01 Jan 1981
Release Date:01 Jan 1981

Totem Poles

An Illustrated Guide

UBC Press

The massive wood carvings unique to the Indian peoples of the Northwest Coast arouse a sense of wonder in all who see them. This guide helps the reader to understand and enjoy the form and meaning of totem poles and other sculptures.

The author describes the origin and place of totem poles in Indian culture – as ancestral emblems, as expressions of wealth and power, as ceremonial objects, as mythological symbols, and as magnificent artistic works of the people of the Pacific Northwest.

Halpin also suggests ways to interpret the motifs and symbols carved on the poles and shows how to recognize the special features which reveal not only the skill of the carver but also his tribal origin.

A beautifully designed and illustrated book. Canadian Plains Bulletin
Marjorie M. Halpin was, for many years until her untimely death in 2001, curator of ethnology at the Museum of Anthropology and a member of the anthropology department at the University of British Columbia.



Indian Cultures of the Northwest Coast






What is a Totem Pole?


Totem Poles

Totem Pole Types

The Antiquity of Totem Poles

Totem Poles Today

Contemporary Sculpture

The Raven and the First Men

Suggestions on How to Look at Totem Poles

1 The Skill of the Carver

2 Recognizing Life Forms

3 Differences in Cultural Styles

List of Totem Poles and Other Large Sculptures on Display in the U.B.C. Museum of Anthropology and on its Grounds

Suggested Reading

Photographic Credits

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